Potential Spoilers Ahead!
Welcome to Hope County, a place filled with brainwashed cultists, charismatic and manipulative leaders, and lots and lots of explosions.
The first time I booted up Far Cry 5 I realised how different it was from Far Cry 3 and 4, yes it has the usual villain and his followers, and yes it has the same game mechanics as the last 2 games, but it has something else to it, a randomness to the combat so that enemies and animals charge in to the middle of a battle when you were least expecting it. An explosion will set off a brush fire that will rage its way through an outpost or a forest. Even when you are standing around enjoying the scenery (trust me, this game is beautiful) there might be a random bear attack or an eagle attacks you from the sky. All of this is mixed in with a whole different range of characters who you can interact with and will even come out and help you take back Hope County.
That’s another thing that makes Far Cry 5 so great, is from the get go you can immediately go in any direction you want. Far Cry 5’s map is broken up into 3 areas: Johns area, Faiths area, or Jacobs area. These three characters all have their own backstories and personalities, and all have absolute faith in Joseph (who they call the Father). You can take these characters down in any way you want to by doing main quests or just doing side missions, there’s so much to do and explore.
Now lets talk the cult, it has its manipulative leader Joseph, who has predicted the end of American society. And has brainwashed a large majority of citizens to take up arms and prepare for the end of the world. He brainwashes them using a chemical known as “Bliss” which is produced from a certain white flower in the game. This leads to some really bizarre game play when you’re in an area that is full of the stuff. Your character starts to hallucinate which leads to you shooting at enemies that aren’t even there. This same thing goes for the cultists themselves, they are all so drugged up on the Bliss that they lose all logical thinking. They may take cover while you are in the middle of a firefight, but sooner or later they will run straight toward you out of pure rage. It goes for some thrilling action sequences where you will be running from cover to cover as bullets are hitting the ground all around you. This makes for great memorable moments that I like to recount to my friends later.
Speaking of friends, Far Cry 5 has brought back co-op, but unlike Far cry 4 you can now play the whole game together. The game just gets even more chaotic with a friend with you. But it really makes it feel like you’re playing in an open world sandbox, you can do anything, go anywhere. I played with a friend for a few hours and we went from taking down cult outposts to going fishing out on a river together. And I enjoyed every minute of it, there weren’t any other players to annoy us or crazy loading times, it was just damn good fun.
I do have one problem with the game however (no game is perfect sadly) I feel that the stealth mechanics in the game are a little bit lacklustre. Taking out outposts in Far Cry 4 was far more enjoyable (minus the tower climbing) You could go at it completely in stealth, snipe enemies on the rooftops, then try and find a way in so you could liberate it. There was far more tactical thinking in Far Cry 4. While Far Cry 5 has me taking out a few enemies with my sniper rifle then just casually walk into an outpost, I can even go in all guns blazing and still not worry about dying. This makes taking down the outposts tiresome and not interesting at all, I would much prefer to spend my time looking for Prepper stashes tucked away in random parts of the map. At least those give me a decent amount of money in the end. Another thing about money, Far Cry 5 has micro transactions (shudder) but unlike other games Far Cry doesn’t force you to buy them, you don’t have to spend another $5 to be able to buy the weapon or vehicle you want, you can just play the game and save up the money to buy it.
You can tell that the development team at both Ubisoft Montreal and Toronto really put love and care into crafting Hope County and make it really feel like you are standing in the middle of Montana USA. That’s another thing, if you can try and step back from all the explosions, cultists, raging bears and crazy people trying to run you over. Just find a nice quiet place away from all of that and just take a stroll through the forests of Hope County, because god damn this is a beautiful game.